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ADDERGOOLE

How deep does it go? (Spoilers. Massive ones.)

By Lucy Weaver, author of Tapestry

Apr 13, 2010: Addergoole presents me with an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, the main characters are charismatically geeky, smart and shy and socially awkward in a way I can absolutely relate to. Shahin’s love of dramatic fashion statements, Jamian’s awkward/adorable tripping over his newfound tail and Kailani’s absolute lack of social grace while she goes through life with more physical grace than a herd of unicorns make the three main characters the pull of the story.

That leads me to my first complaint about the story: the author spends more time than I like on side characters and exploring the history of the school. It’s beginning to feel like the main story is the ‘bonus’ and the bonus stories are the ‘story.’ In Book Three there were 20 chapters and 36 bonus stories / Stamps stories (Stamps are a community-building reward system that the author uses to great effect). Since the only characters I genuinely like without reservations are the main three, that leaves me a little cold.

That brings me to what I suspect is the make or break point for this story for a lot of people, its darker themes. They’re more explicitly explored in the bonus stories, but suffice to say that this story goes some squicky places. So far it’s been inside my tolerance levels, but I do worry that it’s going to go farther than I can bear to read, one of these days.

Things I like: the community discussions are amazing, the author is one of the most fantastically friendly and welcoming of comment I’ve run into in the ‘net writing business, I love the layout, I love the wiki and I love the writing style. It’s clear and sharp without getting too down and dirty with details, and she marks NSFW things very clearly. I like how it challenges me to think through thorny morality hedges. The author is very good about sticking to her update schedule.

I am not sure how I feel about the mind control aspect of things. At some point, mind control goes from a convinient plot device to a reason to want to shake the main characters through the computer screen. If all the main characters are doing is what they’re told to do, without volition of their own, they aren’t really the main characters anymore. I still have this lingering discontent that all three of the main characters are content to stay in this strange, dangerous underground place with barely a passing thought about trying to leave. So far, I hold out hope that the kids will start breaking the rules: defy authority, skip class, jaywalk, litter. /Something/.

So, to summarize: Addergoole is a fantastic story, with some amazing worldbuilding. I’m really not sure where it’s going. It’s a mystery, and a romance, and a thriller, and a horror story. The one thing I’m sure of is that it’s going to be an interesting ride.

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